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I Wish Someone Would Visit My Grave

My name is Catherine Mary Hobart. I was born near Schuyler Town-Ship in 1791 and died near Schuyler Town-Ship in 1814. My father was a farmer and rope-maker, and my mother died giving birth to me. I never married, and my father always said I was plain in the face. I spent most of my life looking after the children of my father's second wife, who died in child-birth, as well. I never set foot from the county and had much pain from sour stomach and several abscessed teeth. I died of a fever that swept through Schuyler Town-Ship and its environs in the winter of 1814, and I was buried in the north-west corner of the grave-yard on the edge of town.

I neither asked for nor expected much in life, and in death, I expect even less. But it has been nearly two centuries since my death, and, in that time, I have grown lone-some, as I have been largely bereft of companionship. And, since a thick tangle of creeping-jenny is fast covering my nearly-illegible tomb-stone, I feel it prudent, although, I fear, unavailing, to beseech the living to consider a visit to my grave-site.

The few who attended my grave to mourn my passing were mainly family members, although they stopped visiting in short order for various reasons, whether it was pressing farm-chores, their migration out West to the Indiana wilderness, or their own deaths. I estimate that no-one has sought out my tomb in 167 years.

Neither does it help that my body is interred in the oldest section of the grave-yard, where few ever venture, or indeed have any reason to, as it is neglected and untended. There are no prominent land-marks or tall monuments to distinguish the area. The greatest fame to have been visited upon the section was that it was the final resting-place of the town apothecary, Nathaniel Whitcomb, whose grave is but a few paces away from mine. In his life-time, Mr. Whitcomb was much respected through-out the county. Legend had it that he had been boyhood friends with the territorial governor. But within a generation, even his memory had entered oblivion.

The only tomb-stone to attract any attention in recent times is a small crescent of granite topped with the weathered sculpture of a tiny lamb. "Isn't that sad, a little baby dying so young?" a woman who chanced upon it in the year 1922 was heard to remark.

Perhaps you can begin to understand my quandary.

I have often been tempted to count the school-boys from about 20 years ago as visitors, but only a fool would consider them respectful mourners. I believe they came to the cemetery to celebrate the Guy Fawkes holiday, and they appeared to have had too much to drink. They ran about making ghostly sounds. Only one of them made any genuine contact with my tomb-stone, and then only to leave on top of it a kind of tin cylinder embossed with the name "Budweiser." The cylinder remained on my tomb-stone for approximately three days. A gust of wind blew it off, and it came to rest against the back of my tomb-stone, where it remained for the next seven years until a raven flew off with it.

I would even welcome the company of those strange young people who dress in black garments and adorn their faces with lime and blacken their lips with pitch. I have espied them strolling about the newer parts of the grave-yard from time to time, reciting poetry and making a concerted effort to resemble cadavers. They appear to enjoy the atmosphere of burial-grounds, which strikes me as rather morbid. Despite their predilection for ghoulishness, they continue to overlook my tomb-stone.

If you decide to visit my grave, I would be most grateful. Again, it is in the north-west corner of the grave-yard on the out-skirts of Schuyler Town-Ship, half a league west of the bend in the road, where the tall old elm stands. My tomb-stone is almost over-grown with weeds, but with persistence you will uncover it. To further assist you, let me note that the letters on my tomb-stone have been somewhat obscured by decades of erosion, and the "HOBART" now looks more like "OOLOFT." Oh, and beware of the poison oak, thistles and stinging nettles that have sprung up in the area, as well as the large yellow-jacket nest in the near-by hawthorne tree. And, especially, please do not eat the nightshade. I thank you.

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